Actor Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, along with filmmaker Mani Ratnam, music composer AR Rahman, actors Vikram, Jayam Ravi, Karthi and Trisha, promoted their upcoming film Ponniyin Selvan I in Mumbai on Saturday.
At the press conference, when Aishwarya was asked what her daughter’s Aaradhya’s reaction to seeing her play a queen in the historical fiction film was, the actor recalled a story about Aaradhya’s interaction with Mani Ratnam on set. She said, “She (Aaradhya) is yet to see the movie. But at the time, she was enthralled. And there are many here who have children. And, seeing a period drama is always exciting and she got the opportunity to visit the set and it was mesmerizing. I could see that in her eyes.”
Aishwarya said that her daughter is ‘in awe’ of Mani Ratnam. “I think my admiration for working with him, she already has the very… she respects him, she is in awe of him. And his affection is so sweet. And I think what excited her the most is, when one day when she came on set and he gave her the opportunity to say action, she couldn’t get over that. She is like, ‘Sir gave me the opportunity to say that’. I said, ‘My God’, none of us have had that opportunity. So that’s probably the most cherished memory. This is really precious and she values it already and I think, in her growing up years, she’ll cherish it even more. It would be a much cherished memory,” Aishwarya added.
This is the fourth time Aishwarya has collaborated with Mani Ratnam. The two have previously worked together on films such as Raavan, Iruvar and Guru. On this, Aishwarya said, “He is my guru. I worked in my first film with him… (He is) the perfect school, the perfect guru, because experience is the best teacher.”
Getting nostalgic, Aishwarya shared how Mani Ratnam held her hand through it all. She said, “I didn’t come with any formal training, I just dived right into all. I got to work with him and I think a lot of its spiritual, it’s divine, it’s blessed… It all starts from the beginning, right? The way you actually focus on the art and the creativity itself, and not on the peripherals as that isn’t the focal point in your creative journey. And what better place for me to have begun my approach to my craft than with Mani sir. So, I’m very, very blessed that I got the opportunity with Iruvar, then again in Guru, Raavan, Raavanan and now Ponniyin Selvan, his dream project.”
“To have got the opportunity to just be a part of that in itself is any artist’s dream and we are all, everybody here will echo my sentiment, we are humbled and creatively content and regard ourselves very, very privileged that we got to be part of his dream film,” Aishwarya added.
This is the second time that Aishwarya is portraying the role of a queen on screen. She previously played a queen in Ashutosh Gowariker’s Jodhaa Akbar, in which she starred with Hrithik Roshan. On being asked which character was more difficult to play, she said, “You don’t compare your roles as an artiste. Every experience is challenging itself and memorable in itself, too.”
Ponniyin Selvan I is scheduled to be release in theatres on September 30 in Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam and Hindi.